England in Bangladesh 2009-10

Siddons confident in home conditions

Andrew Miller in Dhaka

February 26, 2010

Comments: 28 | Text size: A | A

Shakib Al Hasan goes over the top, Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Tri-series, 4th ODI, Mirpur, January 8, 2010
Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan is ranked the best ODI allrounder in the world © Associated Press
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Players/Officials: Mahmudullah | Shakib Al Hasan | Tamim Iqbal
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Bangladesh

Jamie Siddons, Bangladesh's coach, hopes that England's complacent team selection will "bite them on the bum" in the three-match one-day series that gets underway in Mirpur on Sunday, and believes that the decision to rest Andrew Strauss, coupled with the prospect of a slow and low spin-friendly surface, will help his young side claim the scalp of the one international team to have eluded them in their ten years as a top-flight nation.

It's a remarkable statistic, given England's haphazard attitude towards one-day cricket, but nobody else in the world can boast a 100% record in all international fixtures against Bangladesh. Since their first meeting at Nairobi in October 2000, England have racked up four Test victories and eight in ODIs, but Siddons is confident that, after a 12-month period of steady consolation, his players are ready to complete the set this week.

"At the start of this year, we knew we had to play the better teams in the world, and I think we've fared pretty well," said Siddons. "In our conditions we play really well, we're a developing team and growing in confidence. England need to be at their best to beat us, but they've left a couple of key players behind. I'm thinking that could be the difference, but we'll have to wait and see."

Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh's captain, offered a respectful "no comment" when quizzed on the thorny issue of Strauss's absence from this tour, but his coach was unapologetically forthright. "People have their own choices to make, and organisations have their choices to make, about whether they come here or not," he said. "But my thoughts are that I hope it bites them on the bum at the end of the series. And that we can say 'don't come here next time as well'."

Regardless of Siddons' optimism, England remain favourites for the series after a rare run of success in ODIs, encompassing a maiden series win in South Africa, following on from a semi-final appearance in the Champions Trophy. Nevertheless, Alastair Cook is virtually untested as a leader, while the positive attitude that he displayed in the two warm-up matches in Fatullah cannot disguise the fact that he has not opened in a 50-over international since November 2008.

"I hope that the opener that they've brought in isn't good enough, and that they fail at that part of the game," added Siddons. It wasn't entirely clear whether he was referring to Cook or his probable batting partner Craig Kieswetter, who warmed up for his debut with a hard-hitting 143 on Tuesday, but the sentiment could easily have been applied to both.

"We know very little about Kieswetter, apart from what we've seen this week," said Siddons. "We don't know a lot, but we're hoping the conditions out here will bring him undone. Our strength is our strength, so we're not worried about the opposition. We'll bowl and bat as well as we can, and see what the outcome can be."

Whatever transpires, Siddons is certain that his team is on an upward trajectory after far too many years of languishing near the foot of the world rankings. In July 2009, they won their first Test series against a senior Test nation, albeit an unrecognisable West Indies side in the throes of an industrial dispute, while more recently they competed hard in a tri-series against India and Sri Lanka before suffering a set-back on their tour of New Zealand. But even that trip had its notable moments, as Bangladesh posted 408 in their first innings thanks to a maiden century from Mahmudullah, before Shakib's second-innings 100 took them improbably close in their run-chase.

"In every game, I don't look for wins, I look for performances and achievements from our players and I'm getting that more and more with every series," said Siddons. "Most of the guys will say we had a bad series in New Zealand. But I look at the three hundreds we scored and the two five-fors we took, and the way we played out the fifth day of the Test. With one good session, we'd have won the game, and if we'd taken our chances, we might even have won one or maybe two ODIs.

"The achievements every day are what I look for, and that's why I love this job," he added. "Turning up every day, I'm waiting for someone to perform and do something we've been working on. Our boys are 22-23 years old, and you look around the world, most good players at that age are in and out of a team and not performing. I've got a team full of those types of player, and I can see England coming here when they are 26, and people saying you haven't got a chance. Unless they improve a lot."

Before succeeding Dav Whatmore in the summer of 2007, Siddons spent three years in the Australian set-up including a spell as assistant coach to John Buchanan, but the challenge of fine-tuning a team of world-beaters offered nothing like the same job satisfaction as his current role.

"It's a lot tougher in that you go to the games and you're not sure how you'll perform, but it's what makes me turn up to work every day," he said. "I love that part of the game, and that part of coaching, developing players. And [a developing team] is what this team still is. I wouldn't say we are improving every series - we're still a team of 22-23 years old so we're still quite capable of a little slip in a session, or a 5-10 over block where teams exploit us - but we're getting better at not having those bad patches."

With Tamim Iqbal emerging as a fully fledged talent, alongside the maturing Mahmudullah and Shakib, whom Siddons referred to as the "second-best spinner in the world, and the best allrounder", Bangladesh have a side with the raw materials to cause an upset. But one man who won't be taking part is Mohammad Ashraful, who mustered 62 runs in six innings in New Zealand, and has requested - and been granted - a break from the front line.

"I spoke to Ash at the end of the New Zealand series," said Siddons. "He said he wanted a rest and I thought I'd talked him out of it, so I'm not sure what's happened in last three or four days. But he's made his decision and I respect it, but I'd love to have him at 3 and 4 in our Test and ODI teams. He's the little diamond in the rough we are looking for, that we need to step up along with Tamim, Mushfiq [Rahim] and Shakib. Those guys have really stepped up, so if Ash can fill the gap, we're a formidable batting team."

Sunday's first ODI could also see a return to the fray for Bangladesh's leading fast bowler, Mashrafe Mortaza, who has been out of action since July following knee surgery. He got through eight overs in England's second warm-up in Fatullah, and Siddons is ready to put his faith in the medical bulletins, and his own observations from Friday's nets session.

"I saw him running, I wouldn't say he's 100% fit but he's pretty close," he said. "He was bowling beautifully, and saw a little footage of him from the other day and he looked quite good with the new ball. My only concern is how he comes back in the middle overs, but he's a key part of our side when he's fit. So we'll probably roll the dice a bit and give him a game, and hope he comes up trumps with the new ball."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

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Posted by goodmood08 on (February 28, 2010, 14:33 GMT)

Mashrafi should be preserved with extreme great care. He's the most matured player and main strike bowler Bangladesh's got and his strong presence will mean greater certainty of winning. Ashraful should've been groomed to make him more deadly and aggressive in his batting. He doesn't deserve all the blame. His natural killer instincts has been tarnished by management pressure and also from the coach, to some degree. The method used on him is not effective. That's where the coach and management's foresight and experience comes into play. They shouldn't make the same mistake on Mahmudullah once againl. Media and all should be kept far far away. Nevertheless, coach Siddons has been brave and outstanding so far on the rest of the team. He's really taken the challenge to heart, it seems and he's using his expertise in all cylinders to make the team get to a world class stature and its starting to show it's footprints.. should be interesting to see what lies ahead. Let's go Tigers...

Posted by   on (February 28, 2010, 2:12 GMT)

I think Bangladesh has better opportunity bit England.And the selector take good decision drop Ashraful and Raqibul.Bangladesh Line up should be- Tamim, Imrul, Aftab, Shaikb, Mushfiq, Mahmuddullah,Shovo, Naim, Razzak, Mashrafe, Shafiul.

Posted by nubes on (February 28, 2010, 1:20 GMT)

I've never seen such an optimist as Mr Siddons before. and, I love the way he became an inseperable part of Bangladeshe's Cricket. You are the most devoted coach Mr Siddons. Salute!!!

Posted by   on (February 27, 2010, 22:37 GMT)

we just need runs from top orders i got enough confidence on sakib,mahamuddah and mushfique they will do the rest of thing i believe and our bowling right now much better than before so good luck tigers.

Posted by JS82 on (February 27, 2010, 21:25 GMT)

Bangladesh should pick 2 pacers Mashrafe if fit and Shafiul. This would be my 11 - Tamim, Imrul, Junaid, Aftab, Shaikb, Mushfiq, Mahmuddullah, Naim, Razzak, Mashrafe/Rubel, Shafiul.

Posted by Almost on (February 27, 2010, 14:52 GMT)

Good luck to the guys from Bangladesh..i hope they can show England and the world the true value of their talent in this ODI series..Look them in the eye and don't blink!!

Posted by Alif80 on (February 27, 2010, 14:15 GMT)

I believe that Bangladeshi players can win these ODI and test series. They can play very well in their home ground as everybody knows. The players need to have patience while playing test cricket. As for Bangladeshi coach Mr. Siddons, I think that Bangladesh Cricket Board(BCB) had the most best coach since the beginning of Bangladesh's International Cricket. Till now(if i m not wrong) he has given Bangladesh around 2-3 series wins. The players should play like the way how they themselves played against West Indies, Zimbawe(away and home).

I wish the very best of luck for Bangladesh to win these matches. (TIGERS ARE ALWAYS THE BEST)

Posted by Farukafaj on (February 27, 2010, 12:37 GMT)

Long time BD didn't win a match, hope they win at least one match and fight in other matches.Good Luck..

Posted by   on (February 27, 2010, 12:19 GMT)

this series is a good test for BD players...........

Posted by   on (February 27, 2010, 12:10 GMT)

i will request the bangladesh team not to lose their opportunity if they can reach close to win.bangladesh team has the tendency to lose their spirit to win and giving up the match at the crucial last moments of the match.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2010, 11:39 GMT)

This match is one of the biggest test for the present BD team under Siddons responsibility.......now it is a matter to see how tigers play with the English this time..........

Posted by   on (February 27, 2010, 7:12 GMT)

we need a genuine number 3..i think anamul from U-19 will b a good choice.

Posted by farial_87 on (February 27, 2010, 6:18 GMT)

I agree fully with the coach, this England side is beatable. But somewhere is the bright sunshine there is a hollow ring, yes that is the previous records againt England and if that can be overcome we can hope for the best. Without the evil influence of Ashraful Bangladesh is bound to win atleast 1 match. Yes,you heard me, Ashraful is the name of a catastrophe in the Bangladesh cricket team.

Posted by   on (February 27, 2010, 5:34 GMT)

Siddons is the best ... Bangladesh will beat the english this time .......No doubt about that :).. GO TIGERS GO!!!!!!

Posted by KingofDice on (February 27, 2010, 5:22 GMT)

I am really looking forward to this series and have my fingers crossed hoping for a bangladesh win :). having said that, as long as bangladesh can step up their batting and come close to the target i'll be happy. the way bangladesh have improved, it really makes me proud, even if they haven't won a series yet. NZ tour had a few slip ups bet we recovered at times to put up something decent, which is remarkable. most other teams would have folded if they had starts like we did. I think Ashraful is right in taking a rest. I know i personally have been very critical of him and been wondering whether he merits his place. Given that, i hope he can find his footing again just has tendulkar has in the last 3 years, and get back to the level he (ashraful) displayed when he started. Bangladesh, Good Luck and fight hard.

Posted by fortunehunter on (February 27, 2010, 4:45 GMT)

First of all I'd like to thank people from other countries who thankfully watch and follow our cricket team and support us. We hv a great potential as a team and we r growing with each game building our confidence level. Two years ago we din't hv nothing now we hv best alrounder in ODI, one of the top ranked spinners and possibly the best batsman at No 8 position in form of Mahmudullah.. They need to improve the game mentally. Mr Seddons a heartiest congratulation for doing fantastic job, well done. When they were reviewing ur contracts I was upset thinking u may be going .. Bcz this is Banglladesh and any thing could happen. I m very glad u stayed and if u stay for another 4/5 years I m sure u will be very proud of this team. Its always good to see u backing up those young guns. I think Ashraful could stay in the team bcz the best way to come back to cricket is to play cricket. I don't think Bangladesh will do much against England but lets be optimistic bcz it feels better .. Gud Luck

Posted by   on (February 27, 2010, 4:19 GMT)

Bangladesh must not give a way their wicket.......They should play their game with Great concentration and then they will be able to bit them

Posted by Bengali-Tiger007 on (February 27, 2010, 2:58 GMT)

Hi every1, I just think hoping that the team Bangladesh puts up a really hard fight and not give up their wickets cheaply or in any shameful manner is good enough. If they can just bat out the full 50 overs without losing too many wickets, then that will be more than enough regardles the outcome. My goshhhh, the talents that we have, we're no less than any big teams, they just need to put in a constructive team work effort. I just feel sorry for Ash, hope he returns back to a solid consistent form.

Posted by maddy20 on (February 27, 2010, 0:41 GMT)

Whats with Siddons and "biting in the bum". First India and now England. The English are just grooming a future captain after Strauss retires or something. Nonetheless he is right about Bangladesh improving consistently. Mahamadullah, Rahim, Tamim, Shakib and Mortaza all seem to have talent but they perform only as individuals. If they can put up a good collective performance then they can give England a run for their money.

Cheers, Maddy from India.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 22:39 GMT)

imran bh...........i u are full wrong we need team middel order good performanace but u take raqibul and ashrifull we loss easy they did nothink for team so is batter give change new comer is batter for team ...........

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 22:33 GMT)

my requst bangladesh coah .please dont add ashraful and raqibul in team please please

Posted by Inaz on (February 26, 2010, 19:53 GMT)

I agree with siddon....I'm a SLn but I support Bang.......I'm eager 2c Ban performn.....Ashik I kno ashraful is a gud plyr & a match winner......he hs been given lot of chances.......in sports sum1 cant b n 4 their reputation.....v all kno that ashraful has been n de team 4 his reputation......enough guyz......let him go bac 2 de domestic...perform then cum bac...........bettr than me as a bengali u guyz kno that there r so many talents in ban.....like Shuvagoto Hom, foisal hossain, Jahurul Islam, alok kapali, nazimuddin & plenty more...........Bang plyrs shud hv a fear 4 their spot n the team........thats gonna make them perform...........and mahmudulla and mushfiqur rahim shud bat up de ordr................a team's best batsmn shud bat @ 3 thats mahmudulla 4 Bang.......I had been follown bang u-19 cricket as well........anamul haq the (wk) he shud start 2 ply 4 de national side very soon.......he's an absolute talent....anywy I hope bang gt a very gud future........

Posted by Cricket_needs_Mental_Toughness on (February 26, 2010, 18:57 GMT)

Coach Siddons has correct focus - develop young talent so that they can become world class cricketers. However, to win consistently, need a lot more. At least the following things: a) Bangladeshi cricketers should develop a lot more MENTAL TOUGHNESS to win in the big league - should constantly take psychological training. Shakib. and Mahmudullah seem to have it, other players in the team often look either too childishly exuberant and throw their wickets away, or look very timid, giving the opposing team the psychological edge. Be calm, confident, and stay your ground. Tamim has the talent, but he is chancy. b) Coach should teach the players to increase their "STAYING POWER". For example, the top order in batting should practice regularly to remainat the crease for 50+ overs without getting out. Dont try to be a hero. Just perform professionally for every ball. Look at Tendulkar, Amla, Ponting, Dhoni, Sangakaara...leran staying power from the masters.

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 18:46 GMT)

It is good to see Mashrafe again in the team. We people are eagerly waiting to see an outplayed England this time. Hope for the best for our beloved squad.

Posted by sawn on (February 26, 2010, 18:23 GMT)

Lets go Tigers!!!! we gotta win the series!!!!!!!!

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 16:37 GMT)

why should we need assraful he doesnt deserve to play for the team

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 16:05 GMT)

I absolutely Agree With Siddon.... We have talents and given the home condition, and past few years home records, I do feel we have good chances to beat England. All The BEST BANGLADESH.... ROAR OUT THE ENGLISH...

Posted by   on (February 26, 2010, 15:35 GMT)

I think that we needed ASHRAFUL in this ODI series.............as it is very important series for us and we have been waiting for this series for a long period.... i know that Ashraful's current form is not good but he has been a match winner for us.... still think that if we lose the 1st ODI, Ashraful shud be back in the side immediately...........Aftab.......i am a fan of him.. but not sure about him in the team..........

Liked Rokibul as he is a differnet kind of batsman in the team . he could consolidate the innings.... now the team is such a team that will make 500 against England in the ODI or will collapse for 90-100 ... as each and every batsman is a hard heater.... mahmudullah and Tamim are the best at this moment i think......

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Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007
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